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Les Miles Still Deserves to be Fired Over Clock Management Problems vs Tennessee

There wasn’t a more baffling end to a game Saturday than what happened between LSU and Tennessee in Baton Rouge. LSU had a 1st and 2 at the Tennessee 2 with 36 seconds left, down 14-10. They had no timeouts and needed a touchdown to take the lead. Jarrett Lee threw an incompletion but the play only took up four seconds off the clock. With time stopped, LSU waved on quarterback Jordan Jefferson to many boos. Jefferson ran to the right on second down and was stopped for no gain, but the clock kept running.

LSU did not know what to do and let the click keep ticking. The clock went all the way down to four seconds before LSU snapped the ball. The ball was snapped past quarterback Jordan Jefferson and Tennessee won the game 14-10.

So they thought.

Despite the celebration, the referees reviewed the play and penalized Tennessee for having 13 men on the field. LSU lined up for another chance at victory and Stevan Ridley punched it in for the game-winning score. LSU lucked out with a 16-10 win, and they can only thank Tennessee’s too many men on the field penalty for the reason.

UPDATE: Video of the LSU/Tennessee ending

Once again Les Miles proved he can’t manage the clock in crunch time. Just like last year in a loss to Ole Miss, they let the clock run down and almost cost themselves the game. Now all that remains to be seen is if google’s famous idiot blames his quarterback for the problems again. The Tigers need to ignore the outcome and focus on the horrible clock management problems.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Nick Saban Regrets Blowing Off Urban Meyer 20 Years Ago

This story is nothing new, but since it’s never been mentioned here before it’s well worth our time. Back in 1990, Nick Saban was the head coach at Toledo. The Rockets went 9-2 under Saban and had one of the best statistical defenses in the country. Nick left Toledo to coach the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick the next three years, but while he was there, a young coach reached out to him.

As the story goes, Urban Meyer was an assistant at Illinois State and hoping to get hired by Saban’s staff at Toledo. Meyer called Saban’s home and spoke with his wife, Terry, who interviewed him and gave Nick a positive recommendation. Saban never followed up, calling the error “one of the biggest mistakes [he's] ever made.”

Meyer went from Illinois State to Colorado State, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green (his first head coaching gig). From there, he went to Utah and went undefeated with Alex Smith at quarterback, and then onto Florida. In his 10th season as a head coach, Meyer has an incredible 100-18 record. He’s worst season by record was 9-4 in 2007 with the Gators.

As for Saban, he never had a losing season until going 6-10 with the Dolphins in 2006, his 13th season as a head coach. I’d say both have done pretty darn well for themselves. I can’t even imagine how good a team would have been with Urb running the offense and Nick handling the defense. That’s like a coaching dream team right there.

Can Butch Davis Claim Ignorance to Agent, Pay, and Tutor Charges?

So far, the answer is yes. That’s exactly what the North Carolina coach is doing in the face of several incriminating issues.

First, a few players from the program were being investigated for accepting improper benefits from agents (essentially traveling on their dime). Then it was alleged that an academic tutor was writing papers for some of the Tar Heels football players. Most recently Yahoo! Sports proved that one of Davis’ assistant coaches (who resigned nearly a month ago) was essentially a runner for an NFL agent.

Despite the mounting evidence against the Tar Heels program and players, the school is standing by the head coach. A.D. Dick Baddour made this curious statement, believing that Butch Davis “did not know of these things, that there were not signs of these things. I don’t believe he ignored things, so I think it’s really hard to know about these kinds of things without there being some hints around. And I acknowledge that in retrospect, there are some questions that we could have been asking, and we will ask.”

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Stanford Tree and Oregon Duck Preparing for Throwdown

The matchup between Stanford and Oregon Saturday in Eugene will likely be for the Pac-10 title. As we inch closer to the game, more and more side stories are emerging. Aside from the clash on the field, keep on the lookout for a throwdown between the mascots.

Last week Andy Staples wrote a mascot column on SI after the Ohio Bobcat jumped Brutus the Buckeye in a fight. “When we go to Oregon, I’ll have to round up a bunch of homies,” the Stanford Tree told Staples. In response, the Duck issued a warning “Don’t come into my house and push me around” he told The Oregonian.

Of course, if the Tree has ever seen video of the Duck’s fight with the Houston Cougar, he knows he’ll need some back up. As for the game, I have no reason to switch away from my pick that Stanford will win. They’re a physical team with a stellar defense and I think we’ll see that.

One thing Oregon has going for it this is that they’re prepared for the game this time. Oregon Coach Chip Kelly told Jim Rome Friday that his team wasn’t ready for the Stanford game last year and that Stanford played harder than they did. He believes it won’t be the same outcome this time around because they’ll be ready for it.

Hey, even if you know what’s coming, sometimes you still can’t stop it. I think that will be the issue.

Georgia Backed Out of Series with Oregon

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops brought up the point this off-season that teams don’t have much to gain by scheduling difficult nonconference games. Rather, he pointed out that they have much more to lose because the BCS emphasizes record more than strength of schedule, so there’s little upside for a team like them whose Big 12 schedule is already difficult. Georgia’s new athletic director must have the same belief, because he recently agreed with Oregon to mutually cancel a planned home and home series for 2015.

Though the move was termed as a “mutual agreement,” comments from Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity (pictured) indicate it was Georgia who initiated the cancellation. He said about the Bulldogs’ game at Colorado this weekend “We think we’re going a long way this week, try Eugene, Ore., that’s even further. It’s not a lot of fun when you see the itinerary when you get back into Athens at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning like will be the situation this Sunday.”

In addition to not wanting to travel to Eugene, McGarity is in favor of the schedule model that features seven home games and only one tough nonconference game per year. With a game against rival Georgia Tech each year, that doesn’t leave much room for other difficult opponents.

To me, this is typical of the SEC. They have a tough conference schedule so their schools usually aren’t eager to challenge themselves with difficult nonconference schedules or games on the road. This move is also reflective of Georgia’s status as a program. They recently beat Arizona State in a home and home but split with Oklahoma State, losing in Stillwater last year. No longer confident in their abilities and looking to rebuild, they’re trying to set up an easier schedule for themselves.

Stanford vs. Oregon Is For Pac-10 Title

We’re only through four weeks of the college football season but I can say with confidence that Saturday evening’s game between Stanford and Oregon in Eugene will determine the Pac-10 champion. Both teams are 4-0 and have been looking dominant against opponents. The Ducks have been a steady contender in the conference for the past 10 years while Stanford is more of a newcomer. Regardless, I think the Cardinal will take the game.

Stanford has been one of the most impressive teams over the first month of the year. They wiped out Sacramento State as expected, 52-17. They humiliated UCLA at the Rose Bowl 35-0. They waxed Wake Forest 68-24, and they smoked Notre Dame on the road 37-14. Averaging 48 points per game places the Cardinal fourth in the country with Oregon at the top of the list. Both teams run the ball exceptionally well, but I think Stanford has the edge in a few areas.

The Cardinal has already proved it can play successfully on the road, which is what they’ll have to do Saturday. They’ve faced tougher competition than Oregon who also has road wins at Tennessee and Arizona State. Most of all, I think Stanford’s defense is dominant. Yes, both teams are scoreboarding huge numbers, but Stanford’s defense may be the best part of the team. They’ve posted 14 sacks and intercepted four passes, and I saw first hand how impossible it was to move the ball against them when they crushed UCLA. I think this will be similar to the Rose Bowl game between Ohio State and Oregon — Stanford will be too powerful for the speedy Ducks.

Oddsmakers may have installed Oregon as a seven point favorite at home, but I like the Cardinal in this one. Seven points seems like a holiday gift.

Lane Kiffin: We Would Let Team Score Late Touchdown in Close Game

The Sunday and Monday night NFL games this past week were close and featured difficult decisions. One team was deep into its opponents territory and preparing to take the lead (Chicago) or extend the lead (Jets) in the final few minutes. The question was whether the Packers or Dolphins should have played to make stops or let the opposing team score a touchdown while conserving timeouts for a last drive.

My Dad and I agreed that the right move for the Dolphins was to let the Jets score (as Tomlinson did), leaving yourself enough time and timeouts to potentially tie it (which is what happened). Perhaps it would have been wise for Green Bay to employ the same strategy instead of losing on a simple, last-second field goal.

Since it was a topic of discussion on Tuesday, Andrew Siciliano decided to ask Lane Kiffin for his thoughts during an interview with the USC coach on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles. Kiffin says he would generally let the other team score because it gives his team the best chance at victory:

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